“Survivor 46” recap: Someone tries to quit the game… and fails (2024)

Q shakes up the game in a major way with a Tribal Council bombshell, but nothing actually changes.

“Now I know when the going gets tough, he’s going to tuck his tail and quit.”

Ouch. That’s a pretty harsh thing to say. It really calls someone’s character into question as well as their inclination to persevere through adversity. However, the really interesting thing about that quote is that it was actually said about David Jelinsky. And it was said by… Q Burdette.

Make no mistake, Q Burdette tried to quit Survivor on this week’s episode. He tried to couch it in some nonsensical terms about doing it so others could go back to camp and start over, much like Sean Edwards did last season, but the reality is, he was trying to quit. His tribe would not let him, and we’ll get into that in a minute, but let’s call this what it was —an attempt to leave the game.

I would call it shocking, but the signs were all there. Jelinksy said in his EW exit interview that Q actually first broached the subject of quitting the Sweat task on day 1. And then, on day 10, when Kenzie tried to fire up her tribe mate, telling Q, “We’ve fought so hard and I don’t see either one of us stopping anytime soon,” Q responded with: “I might. It’s not giving up. It’s accepting it.” He later insisted that he was only saying that to make Kenzie feel comfortable so she did not play her Shot in the Dark, which was about as believable as his claim that he threw last week’s challenge. (He also said in pre-game press that he would never throw a challenge, so make of that what you will.) And there was also that time after a poor challenge performance where he told the tribe to vote him out.

“Survivor 46” recap: Someone tries to quit the game… and fails (1)

The point is, there is a definite pattern. Q is super emotional, and my take on this week is that the self-proclaimed mob boss was so upset about losing control in all facets of the game — not being able to control how many people sat out of the challenge for rice, not being able to control the vote, not being able to control the people who came back from the first Tribal on night 14 and did not want to talk game, not being able to control Hunter walking off to try and save Tevin —that he just decided to tap out. Often people used to being in charge simply can’t handle not calling the shots, and this appeared to be the first time all game where Q was not calling the shots on his tribe. And he didn’t like it, so he tried to bail.

I’m not trying to hammer the guy. And I want to note that Hostmaster General Jeff Probst has a very different take on Q’s motivations than I do, so I highly encourage you to go read that. I also actually think Q is super entertaining, and if this were Shark Tank, I would be an immediate investor in the Q Skirt. I also don’t know what sort of nonsense he was spewing during that hide-and-seek game, but I was here for every single second of it as he talked about how everyone made all these humongous Survivor errors by either hiding or seeking too well. But we have to call it like we see it, and there is no way around the fact that Q tried to quit the game. Sure, he attempted to dress it up in some sort of convoluted nobility logic, but that, my friends, was an attempted quit.

So why did his tribe mates keep him? Yes, sometimes wannabe quitters like Shawna Mitchell on The Amazon rebound once a cute boy arrives via a tribe swap, but an unreliable alliance partner is almost worse than no alliance partner at all. Because there is already too much unpredictability in the game of Survivor. A rogue, unpredictable ally has undermined too many games to count, and this was about as rogue and unpredictable a move as you can make. Clearly, Q Burdette REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANTED SOME DAMN RICE!

I was much more shocked by the tribe deciding to keep Q than Q trying to bail on the game. I do understand the two-for-one aspect of not voting Q out. You get rid of someone else and then let Q potentially leave whenever and that puts you two spots closer to the million dollars rather than one. Understood. But it still is leaving a massive wild card variable in the game that could blow up in your face. You think Q is on your side? So did the person he called his No. 1 in the game in Tiffany, and look what happened there when he led the charge to get her out?

Q should be thankful that his tribe did not take him up on his offer, where he surely would be tainted with the quitter tag for all eternity. He still may. And all that frustration you saw from cast mates while voting this week may just be the appetizer for what’s to come if and when it all goes down again. Assuming you don’t want to make like Q and quit this recap, let’s see what else happened on episode 8 of Survivor 46.

"I thought I was a co*cky bitch"

We knew there would be gold back at camp once Venus and Tevin duked it out over credit for the Soda blindside, and they did not disappoint. A triumphant Venus proclaimed to the tribe, “I can see through bulls---. And let’s just say a man who claims his entire identity in this game is surrounded by honesty and being an honest person straight up lied to my face the entire day and wrote my name down. And I saw through that and karma bit them in the ass and it was four against Soda and she went home.”

That led to outright cackling from Tevin, who felt Soda’s blindsiding was all his doing. We knew this would go down, and knew it would be amazing. But what we did not anticipate was a third person wanting credit. After Tevin complained to Liz about Venus taking ownership for the move he felt he orchestrated, in stepped Liz to say that she was the one that wanted Venus gone from day one. At this point, I half expected Bhanu to take time out from counting his million hearts to fly back to the island and say that he was the one who really masterminded the Soda blindside.

“I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle,” proclaimed Liz… which perhaps explains why she keeps referring to herself in the third person. But Liz would make her move soon enough.

“Survivor 46” recap: Someone tries to quit the game… and fails (3)

Seeking a threat

If Q really wanted to quit in style, he should have initiated a game of hide and seek and then jumped on a boat and left the game. BEST. HIDING SPOT. EVER. I seriously would have so much respect for him if he had done that. Even without that dramatic exit, this hide-and-seek segment was straight-up fantastic. Not because the tribe played hide and seek, mind you. I could care less about that. Hide and seek is a boring game where you are forced to stand/sit in a super uncomfortable position and then not move a muscle for way too long. The only thing more boring than playing hide and seek is watching hide and seek.

But what made this scene so oddly entertaining was the straight-up bizarre commentary by Q along the way. Apparently, if you are a good hide and seek player, that means you are also a massive threat in Survivor that needs to be dealt with immediately. And anyone who hid well or found someone hiding made a “big mistake” according to the mob boss by inadvertently showing their hand as some sort of Aubry Bracco-level mastermind.

I still can’t tell if he was kidding while providing all this over-the-top commentary, but I kind of don’t think he was? And I kind of also hope he wasn’t, because it is such a bizarre connection to make that I am absolutely in love with it. If Probst does not bring Q back as a master of ceremonies for a Survivor 47 hide-and-seek immunity challenge, then he is doing it wrong. And if you think that a hide-and-seek immunity challenge sounds absolutely ridiculous, keep in mind they literally had a kite flying challenge back in Survivor: Marquesas.

Anyway, in the end, Hunter won…because of course he did. Also, it was cool that we had nine simultaneous spy shacks happening in what can only be considered the ultimate Tony Vlachos tribute.

Speaking of Hunter winning things

Is it still “debatable” that Hunter is Survivor 46’s biggest challenge beast? He came up big again on a classic Survivor contest —holding onto a pole for as long as possible — and won a battle against Charlie to take home the immunity necklace. And then, he put a little mustard on his victory by hanging upside down after everyone else had dropped. Don’t know how smart that was for Hunter to openly flaunt how much better he is at everything than everyone else, but on the other hand, the dude has been so understated after every triumph that it was nice to see Thor drop the proverbial hammer for once.

But the real fun was before the challenge, when Probst did his seasonal offer of a bag of rice if four people would sit out the challenge. In Survivor 45, that offer included a ticking clock in the form of the host violently stabbing a bag of rice. Here, the ticking clock came in the form of a ticking human clock —that being Probst, who counted down from 10 to 1 like he was about to launch a freakin’ spaceship from Cape Canaveral to the moon.

Q and Liz were all about that rice, but could not get anyone else to step forward —the first time in the new era that a cast said NO DEAL to the Banker… wait, that’s not right. Wrong show. Sorry, just a bit confused by the Boston Rob crossover factor. I guess Q and Liz were smart to go for the rice considering they both lasted less time in the challenge than it took me to write this sentence.

The other thing of note was the return of Sassy Jeff, who seemed to delight in roasting the pair for only lasting 20 seconds on the pole. “How long do you think you would last, Jeff?" asked Kenzie from the bench. “Longer than 20 seconds,” responded the host, and yes, I realize there is a joke just waiting to be made there, but in the interest of all parties I am just going to move on.

“Survivor 46” recap: Someone tries to quit the game… and fails (5)

Moving target

Man, there was a lot going on leading up to this Tribal Council. Q Wanted to take out his No. 1 ally in Tiff because she didn’t preach the gospel of The Six, while Liz was trying to take out one of her allies in Tevin because I guess she was annoyed at him taking credit for the Soda blindside. And once Hunter found out about that plan taking shape, he walked with the determination of a man heading to the laboratory to begin the latest test rounds in Don Knotts cloning.

Would it be Tiffany? Would be in Tevin? And why is everyone on Survivor suddenly so insistent on getting out people whose names start with the letter T? Instead, Q had another idea. I don’t want to fully engage once again in his super-confusing reasoning for quitting, but this is what he said at Tribal Council: “It’s not me giving up. Trust me, I wanna play and I’ve been playing since day 1. But again, when something don’t sit right with me and I feel partially responsible for it, I’ve got to own up to it and say, ‘You know what? I’m not going to steal somebody else’s joy and dream, especially in this game where you only get the opportunity to play once.’”

I have no idea what this man is talking about. What in the name of a Jack & Jill movie reward is he responsible for? I’m not poking fun, I’m legitimately confused. I don’t understand any part of it. What is not sitting right with him? What does he feel responsible for? And whose joy and dream is he stealing? Bhanu’s? Are we talking about Bhanu again? Because if I am sure of anything in a world racked with uncertainty, it is that Survivor nation would absolutely love more Bhanu content.

Q’s Tribal bombshell led to a “live Tribal,” but rather than lots of scrambling and whispering, it was more people just sitting around looking super confused and bonding over the fact that they had no earthly idea what to do. It also led to perhaps the greatest collection of voting confessional footage since Erik Reichenbach handed over some very powerful jewelry. Kenzie and Ben straight-up called it the dumbest Tribal ever, Venus said she had a headache, all Hunter could muster was a “whatever” while voting, and Charlie simply shrugged his shoulders in frustration. It was truly a beautiful parade of annoyance and exasperation. I loved every single second of it.

“Survivor 46” recap: Someone tries to quit the game… and fails (6)

Except, of course, the result. Especially because Tevin’s departure marks another notch on my belt of futility when it comes to picking Survivor winners. Sure, maybe it’s my fault for retroactively jinxing Tevin by making him my episode 1 pick to take it all, but maybe it’s also his fault a little for repeatedly insisting on taking all the credit for the Soda blindside right in front of Liz and making her feel the need to create her own signature move… at his expense. In the end, Tevin’s social game — which I thought would be his biggest strength — did him in. He could not bring himself to mend fences with Venus and ended up alienating Liz.

Lord, how I wish there were still cameras at Ponderosa to capture Tevin’s reunion with Soda. I wondered when the season began if the island would be big enough for both of them (and Soda said it wasn’t) but in the end, it wasn’t big enough for even one of them. My big regret (besides picking Tevin to win, obviously) is that we did not get to see more of his partnership with Hunter. The super exuberant Tevin and super reserved Hunter made an unlikely and intriguing duo, but other than their early Andy Griffith bonding moment, we didn’t see a ton of their strategy sessions —especially compared to, say, Maria and Charlie. Oh well.

I very much enjoyed catching up with Tevin, so make sure to check out my exit interview with the second jury member. I also reached out to Probst to get his thoughts on Q trying to leave the game, and they very much surprised me. And if you thought Jem’s Beware Advantage shenanigans are not still causing mischief… think again! We’ve got an exclusive deleted scene to prove it. Plus, check out the entire cast naming their favorite Survivor players ever. Okay, not unlike Q, I’m getting out of here, because when something don’t sit right with me and I feel partially responsible for it, that’s my cue to leave. But don’t you worry — your scoop of the crispy will be ready and waiting next week.

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“Survivor 46” recap: Someone tries to quit the game… and fails (2024)

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